Pat Arnow's Clips
Here are excerpts from some writing with links to the full stories. I have looked at Appalachia and the South with byways into segregation, snake handling and folklore. I obsess about the politics of published photographs, women’s bylines (not enough of them), my hometown Chicago, and life in New York where I like to eat and engage in the dangerous sport of bicycle commuting.
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New York

Biking around New York is my most reckless activity. People think I’m nuts to do it. I think I’m nuts to do it. As a grownup of the gray-haired persuasion, if I get in a minor accident, I’m going to limp for months. . .”
from my column: “Life in the Bike Lane” from Grand Street News, July 2008. Click here to read it.

If you happen to fall in to the New York Harbor, the Hudson, the East River, or Jamaica Bay, you need not fear bacterial infections or diseases from industrial pollution, according to a report from the city's Department of Environmental Protection. Unless you fall in after a storm. . .”
from an article, “Clean Enough To Swim In Again?” from the online magazine Gotham Gazette. Click here to read the article.

The Political

“During the civil rights movement of the 1960s Dave Kotelchuck said, ‘I felt like I was leading two lives.’ As a physicist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, he studied sigma particles in the quiet of his lab. Then during his evenings and weekends as a political activist, he recalled, “all hell broke loose.’...”
from a profile, “Dave Kotelchuck Applies Science,” in Clarion, the publicationof the Professional Staff Congress, City University of New York. Click here to read the story in a pdf.

First Award for a Profile, 2010, Local Unions, from ILCA, the International Labor Communications Association.

Judges’ comments: “Nice mix of the importance of unions and personal information; great details woven nicely into the narrative; presents a complete picture of the man with many facets, as a well-rounded profile should.”

International Labor Communications Award logo

“In a week in June when 15 GIs were killed in Iraq, the war pictures in The New York Times featured dazed Iraqis after a suicide bombing, a Marine patrolling, the twisted remains of a vehicle, wounded children, a civilian casualty in a morgue. No photographs featured American casualties--a typical absence in U.S. coverage of the war....

“The images of war that appear today offer a marked contrast to the pictures of the dead and wounded from the Vietnam War, whose media coverage is credited with spurring protests through graphic images. ...”
from an article, “Where Have All the Bodies Gone?” in Extra! the publication of FAIR—Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. From 2005. Unfortunately, nothing has changed. In fact, it's worse. See below. Click here to read the full story.

“A letter in February to The New York Times (2/3/07) from the commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq revealed new censorship regulations prohibiting portrayals of U.S. casualties in the media. The tightened rules have been in effect since May 2006, but no media outlet with embedded photographers reported on or objected to the censorship of images. . .”
from article, “From Self-Censorship to Official Censorship,” in Extra! the publication of FAIR, April 2007. Click here to read the story

“Women made up nearly 40 percent of all daily reporters in 2003 . . . But just 32 percent of the New York Times' reporters are women. And few of those women get prominent positions for their stories. . .”
from an article:New York Times Bylines Sideline Women,” in Extra! the publication of FAIR—Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Click here to read the story, which is still all-too-relevant.

The Personal

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971. Photo by Pat Arnow In a box of old negatives, I unearthed pictures I took in 1971 of the Chicago Board of Trade's busy commodities market. Here are the photos and a short essay in Gaper's Block, the wonderfully named Chicago webzine.

I was through with film five years before film was through. Now I love digital, and digital loves me back. It changed my life, or at least my profession. . .”
from an essay and photos, “Pixel Dust and Me” in Grand Street News, a Lower East Side magazine, August 2008. Click here for the whole story.

“When my husband, who works in a nursing home, told a patient that we were about to visit Nuremberg, the old man said, ‘Yeah? Piss on Germany for me.’ He has reason to be sore, having lost much of his family in the Holocaust. . .”
from my column, “My German Problem,” in Grand Street News. Click here to read it.

Appalachia and The South

When Doug Tyson rang the doorbell of American Legion Post 7 in Durham, N.C., last May, he was surprised that he didn't get past the foyer. A disabled Vietnam veteran, he didn't realize that this veterans' service club was segregated. . . .”
from the feature, “The Old South: For some black veterans, segregation lingers on,” published by In These Times. Click here to read it.

“. . A retired truck driver, Carl Porter became inspired to handle snakes after he saw the practice at a church service. 'I seen the Lord move on them. I wanted the Lord to move on me, and He did--told me to handle the serpent.' . . .”
from an article: “Snake Handling,” from Southern Exposure. Click here for pdf file. Design by Mia Prior.

The problem wasn't that performer Ed Haggard took off his clothes during his one-person show, a section he called 'I'm too white,' and smeared his body with blue paint. It was what he said while he was doing it. He said that if he had more color, he might have a sense of rhythm, a love of nature. He painted his genitals and said if he had more color he might be more virile. . . .”
from an article and analysis, “The Alternate ROOTS Dilemma: From Little Black Sambo to Son of White Man,” from Southern Exposure.” Click here to read the article, archived through the Community Arts Network.

Morgan’s vision of Appalachian people is a romantic one, the flip side of familiar imaginings of the violence and evil, moonshine and madness in the mountains. . . .”
from a review of Gap Creek by Robert Morgan, in Now & Then and the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer. Click here to read it.

In your books, you use a lot of folklore. For instance, one of your characters puts an axe under the bed to cut the pain of childbirth. I was wondering where you got this kind of thing.”

“‘Well, I grew up in Grundy, Va., which is in Buchanan County in Southwest Virginia, and I was an only child, which means that I spent less time with other children and more time listening to old people. Although I was an only child, I had a real big family there. They were all real talkers.’ . . .”
from an interview with novelist Lee Smith in the book, Conversations with Lee Smith, edited by Linda Tate, University Press of Mississippi. Smith writes about the present and past of Appalachia. Click here to read it.

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